The chief of staff at Health Sciences North is hoping to reduce wait times and investigate ways to keep patient mortality down.

Patients with complex conditions are spending, on average, over eight hours waiting for care in emergency and an average of 15 hours in emergency rooms this year.

The provincial ministry of health would like the total time spent in ER to be eight hours or less.

October 2011 wait times, critical care Avg. ER wait time Avg. time spent in ER
Provincial target - 8 hours
Provincial average 5.8 hours 11.2 hours
Health Sciences North 8.4 hours 18.2 hours
(Source: Ontario Ministry of Health) 

Chris Bourdon said the solution is to streamline how the ER works.

"It comes down to …  if you put the cart on this side when I come in, I just need to reach like this and get a band-aid and put it on," he said. "As opposed to — if the cart's on the otherside — I got to come to the right side of the bed, I come around, get the band-aid. If you're doing that 30 times a day, and it takes you 30 seconds, there's 15 minutes [gone]."

But Dr. Bourdon noted wait times are still closely tied to the number of hospital beds being taken up by elderly patients with nowhere else to go.

Mortality rate higher than provincial average

Hospital officials are also concerned about the mortality rate at Health Sciences North.

The standardized mortality rate weighs deaths in the hospital against the number of patients who were likely to die.

The province would like to see that rate below 86 — but Sudbury's has been as a high as 113 this year.

Bourdon said there are no obvious reasons why Sudbury's mortality rate is so high. However, hospital officials have to "do a deep dive into … data and into individual problems like sepsis or heart attacks or infections like pneumonia and find out if it's something about your processes that is driving the mortality," he said.

Bourdon hopes that research will start bringing down the mortality rate at the hospital in the New Year.